Wins and fuckups: My last 10 years in business — Cara Szellemes

Cara Szellemes
5 min readDec 12, 2019
It’s been nearly 10 years since I began my first business, Mumatopia.

It’s been 10 years since I first started my own business. I remember walking into the business name registry (back then we had to apply in person) with $120 in hand to secure my business name.

10 years ago, I would spring out of bed, excited about creating and marketing my little business, Mumatopia.

Facebook business pages were thriving marketplaces for small operators back then. It was really easy to sell stuff and everyone was excited about the possibilities.

In the years since I’ve done pretty much everything from selling my own handmade wares in markets and online to entering and winning a startup competition and running my own content marketing consultancy.

I’ve had a lot of wins but, like many other women in business, I’ve also experienced my fair share of failures. And when I’ve experienced failure, I’ve been particularly hard on myself… harder than anyone else could be.

In fact, in the past year particularly, I’ve taken out the proverbial club and beat myself senseless.

The conversation you have with yourself when you fail

On a San Francisco and Silicon Valley Tour with Bluechilli

I recently wound up my startup Writally after it became clear that it just wasn’t going to work on the scale I wanted it to. The biggest hurdle I ran into was being a solo founder. It’s tough and it puts investors off.

After validating a few new ideas (or not validating, as the case may be), I started work on a new startup in the innovation culture space with a brilliant co-founder.

If I’m honest, I felt a great sense of shame and embarrassment at having to close Writally’s doors. I get it happens in the startup world. I get I’m not the only one, but it hurt nonetheless.

Since making that decision I lost my mojo a bit.

Imposter syndrome hovered over me as I dealt with the fallout from closing my startup.

The conversation I’d been having with myself about getting out there and doing something new was pretty…

Cara Szellemes

Amazon №1 Bestselling author of Your Brilliant Un-Career, Web2 and Web3 Content Strategist, Founder of 180Selfcare and Your Story Bank.